BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
As the campaign for local candidates is slated to kick off on March 25, Provincial Comelec Supervisor Roberto Salazar yesterday called for peaceful elections, as he warned those who may instigate violence that the full force of the government will be applied.
The Commission on Elections has identified 18 towns and cities in Negros Occidental as potential election areas of concerns because of intense political rivalries, presence of New People’s Army rebels, history of election related violence and possible resurgence of private armed groups.
“Let’s make the elections peaceful,” Salazar, in his message to local candidates said.
We have experience of a candidatein Negros who did not want it to be peaceful, Salazar added.
It need not only the whole government approach,but community as well, he further said, apparently referring on how to make the May 9 elections peaceful.
Salazar said he is hopeful the number of potential elections hotspots in Negros remains as is.
But he also entertaining the possibility that it may also increase, based on the developments that may take place, since the campaign period for local candidates is about to start.
We will see if there will be intense rivalries which may lead to the increase of potential election hotspots, Salazar said.
PLt. Abegael Donasco,deputy spokesperson of the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office, earlier disclosed that the province will have an augmentation force of about 500 police personnel during the May 9 elections.*